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Coronavirus

Health officials call on Lebanese to register for vaccination amid low turnout

Published: Updated:

Lebanon is expected to receive its first delivery of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine but the number of citizens who registered for the vaccine remains at 230,000 requests so far, in addition to 100,000 healthcare workers according to the adviser to the Minister of Health Ridha Moussawi.

Dr. Abdel Rahman al-Bizri, President of the National Committee for Coronavirus Vaccination, indicated said that coronavirus vaccinations will start very soon.

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“The best vaccinations are secured for our people. We invite you to register on the platform for vaccination. Together, united, we will win the battle against the coronavirus,” Dr. al-Bizri added.

Lebanon’s surge in coronavirus cases and deaths started after a holiday season during which tens of thousands of visitors flew to the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. The surge in cases overwhelmed a medical sector already crippled by the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion and the economical crisis.

A recent statistical survey showed that only 31 percent of respondents confirmed that they will be receiving the vaccine.

  A patient who is suffering from the Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus is treated at the intensive care unit of the Geitaoui hospital in Beirut, Jan. 14, 2021. (AFP)
A patient who is suffering from the Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus is treated at the intensive care unit of the Geitaoui hospital in Beirut, Jan. 14, 2021. (AFP)

CEO of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Dr. Firas Abiad, shared the results of the survey on Twitter commenting that the most worrying thing about it is that only 33 percent of respondents over the age of 65 would like to be vaccinated.

“It is clear that we need to do more to spread awareness and answer people’s fears,” Dr. Abiad added.

According to Dr. Firas, Beirut Rafic Hariri governmental hospital will be assigned as the central center for the vaccination storage and processing.

“Pfizer vaccine requires special storage at very low temperature. Our Ultra Low Temp (ULT) refrigerators are inspected by an external expert appointed by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF. Our staff have also undergone special training by Pfizer representatives. The hospital will, once again, be up to the challenge,” Dr. Abiad added on Twitter.

Dr. Abiad added that an intense awareness campaign, more than 85 percent of health care workers had registered to receive the vaccine.

“Protecting our frontline healthcare workers is our priority, and they will be the first to get vaccinated. They are our heroes and they deserve it,” he added.

Dr. Abiad added that a Vaccine Information and Registration Center is currently “up and running” and it be providing webinars, social media, and a hotline in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

“Patients registered on the online platform can book their appointments soon. For a start, we aim to vaccinate more than 500 people per day,” Abiad added.

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